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Why the actions of West Ham supporters are simply unacceptable

West Ham’s defeat against Burnley was marred by crowd trouble.

Max Cohen

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Photo: Getty Images

West Ham United’s 3-0 home loss at the hands of Burnley was embarrassing for a number of reasons, but the behaviour of some supporters was simply despicable. The match was marred by constant pitch invasions, fighting in the stands, and abuse of the owners, a sad throwback to an era of football that many thought was firmly in the past.

The West Ham faithful are understandably displeased with the state of their club. The Hammers have endured a disastrous season which has left the side teetering precipitously outside of the relegation zone. A dreadful run of three straight defeats, where West Ham have conceded 11 and scored just two, has led to a poisonous atmosphere in East London.

But more than anything, the majority of the angst is centered against the board. A perceived lack of quality investment, an over-reliance on washed-up former stars, and a failure to replace key departures are chief on the list of grievances.

And on top of all this, the club was relocated from their spiritual home of Upton Park in 2016, moving to the characterless London Stadium – a ground far more suited to athletics than football.

All of these reasons certainly give West Ham supporters cause for concern, as they watch their club fall apart before their eyes. Yet there can be absolutely no sympathy for the despicable actions of a select group of supporters over the weekend.

Pitch invasions are never acceptable, and the supporters who took it upon themselves to disrupt their own players are the epitome of stupidity. Anyone who watched Mark Noble’s emotional interview following the match understands the psychological effect pitch invasions can have on footballers – the West Ham captain felt the need to have to protect himself.

In addition, the owners faced violent protests directly outside their box, with David Sullivan even hit in the face by a coin thrown from the mob, as reported by the Daily Mail. No matter what one thinks of Sullivan’s management of the club, violence is never an appropriate response.

There were visible scenes of young supporters fleeing to the Burnley bench to evade fighting in the stands, and further reports that the Metropolitan police received two allegations of assault and a female steward found herself knocked to the ground.

While it must be acknowledged that this trouble was only caused by a select number of West Ham fans, with the rest being thoroughly decent supporters and people, the entire debacle will do no favours to West Ham’s bid to remain in the Premier League.

West Ham’s next two matches in front of the poisonous home crowd? Southampton and Stoke. If crowd trouble persists during these vital six-pointers, then the Hammers might be facing the possibility of Championship football for the first time since 2012.

Max is an 18-year-old football journalist studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Max specialises in English football, is an avid follower of Fulham, and co-hosts a weekly Fulham podcast. He is also a politics reporter and deputy news editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian.

West Ham United

Signing Yaya Toure is not enough to gain support for West Ham board

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Photo: Getty Images.

West Ham United are believed to be close to appointing former Premier League winning coach Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager, and reports indicate that it could lead to a coup signing in his former player Yaya Toure.

The Telegraph make the claims as they say that previous talks between the Hammers and the free agent broke down, but the appointment of the Chilean would smooth matters and may make a deal more feasible.

In truth, the signing may not actually impress West Ham fans all that much. They have grown used to the signing of players who were dominating the game five years ago and are now past their best. The signings of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Patrice Evra over the past year have shown as much with mixed results.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The board are desperately seeking a way to get fans back onside as discontent grows and fans accuse them of not spending sufficiently to back their team and the signing of such a high profile player of immense quality may satisfy those wishes.

That may be the plan, but Yaya Toure made only two Premier League starts in 2017/18 and such a record bares terrifying resemblances to the likes of Andy Carroll, commanding a high wage whilst spending more time in the stands watching on than actually making an impact.

Toure could provide a spark and excitement, there’s no denying that he would be an invigorating addition, but he is not the long-term solution that the club require as fans cry out for players with potential and already at their best. His signing would be a mere distraction.

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Manchester City

Manuel Pellegrini’s poor China record should give West Ham cause for concern

The Chilean international looks set to join the Hammers.

Max Cohen

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Pellegrini
Photo: Getty Images

As Manuel Pellegrini inches closer to being named West Ham United’s new manager, many have applauded the potential appointment of a Premier League-winning boss.

With spells at some of the world’s most successful clubs, the Chilean is certainly an impressive acquisition for the Hammers.

Yet Pellegrini’s most recent coaching assignment has been nothing short of mediocre, a sign that should slightly worry West Ham supporters.

Pellegrini officially left Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune on Saturday, after just under two years at the club.

The Chilean was appointed in August 2016 and registered an unspectacular record at the club.

Pellegrini’s first season ended with Hebei in fourth position, yet the club missed out on AFC Champions League qualification by one place.

This year, the team has taken a dramatic step back in the opening months of the season.

(Photo by Geoff Caddick/Getty Images)

Under Pellegrini’s management, Hebei China Fortune currently sit eighth out of the 16-team Chinese Super League.

The side has only picked up just 15 points from 11 matches to date, a disappointing return considering Pellegrini has talents such as Ezequiel Lavezzi, Hernanes, and Gervinho at his disposal.

As the Chinese Super League is a far less important and internationally relevant league than La Liga or the Premier League, Pellegrini can perhaps be forgiven for not taking his job as seriously as his past assignments at Malaga, Real Madrid, and Manchester City.

Yet, his Chinese struggles are worrying nonetheless, as ideally West Ham supporters would like to be acquiring the services of a manager who enjoyed success at his most recent club.

In all, the ex-Manchester City manager still has a Premier League title to his name, a fact that makes his recent tough spell in Asia less concerning.

Nevertheless, Manuel Pellegrini’s underwhelming time at Hebei China Fortune reveals that the manager still possesses flaws and should not be expected to work immediate wonders at West Ham.

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Crystal Palace

West Ham can’t afford to lose Michail Antonio to Crystal Palace

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Photo: Getty Images.

Uncertainty surrounds West Ham United as a summer rollercoaster looks inevitable with big changes on and off the field. That is starting with a change in the dug-out, where The Times say that former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is favourite to replace David Moyes. The club could pay a heavy price though, with Michail Antonio potentially at risk.

The Guardian say that London rivals Crystal Palace are looking to do their transfer business early and could pounce on the chaos at the London Stadium to poach the winger away from the Hammers.

The former Sheffield Wednesday man missed much of the 2017/18 season with on and off injuries from bruised ribs to calf strains and a pulled hamstring, which may suggest that now could be the right time to cash in on the explosive 28-year-old who relies on physicality and dynamic pace.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images,)

Yet despite that, West Ham cannot afford to be tempted into selling. Despite being sidelined by injury at various points throughout the season, when fit Antonio was always one of the first names on the team sheet under both Slaven Bilic and David Moyes.

Antonio’s tenacity and determination shows why a new manager, whether it is Pellegrini or not, should look to build their team around the winger. Able to play in a variety of roles and a real fan favourite, the unpopular Irons board would be taking a huge gamble by allowing Antonio to depart.

It is no surprise that Palace are interested, and had it not been for injury some much more high profile clubs could have come calling, but West Ham must retain the services of Michail Antonio if they are to pursue hopes of pushing for Europe.

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